The human body tends to wear down with time. For some, the simple act of getting out of bed in the morning or climbing a flight of stairs can be an effort wrought with knee pain and discomfort.
At first, you might be able to dismiss these symptoms as simply getting older. Yet chronic knee pain might also be a sign of one or both knee joints starting to fail.
What Causes Knees to Fail?
Osteoarthritis is the most common factor related to chronic knee pain. It is a disease that causes a gradual breakdown of cartilage that cushions the joints. While it can affect nearly every joint in the human body, it is more likely to affect large joints first, especially those that bear weight and are involved in repetitive motions.
Those at increased risk of developing osteoarthritis as they age include individuals with chronic inflammation problems, which can accelerate the deterioration of the knee and hip joints; overweight individuals who are statistically more likely to experience chronic knee pain and deterioration; and individuals who work in the manual labor industry and individuals who have suffered a severe joint injury in the past.
What are the Common Symptoms of Osteoarthritis in the Knees?
For some individuals, chronic knee pain can develop slowly. However, there are those who notice symptoms with rapidly increasing severity. Some of the more common symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knees include:
- Severe knee pain during activity as well as at rest
- A decreased range of motion in one or both joints
- Joint stiffness
- Swelling in the knee joint
- An abnormal feeling of warmth in the knee
- An outward bulge or inward bow of the knee joint
If you have been experiencing symptoms such as these, you should strongly consider scheduling an appointment with an orthopedic specialist like the physicians at the Advanced Surgery Center. Our experienced staff can use advanced diagnostics to evaluate the nature and severity of the problem and develop an effective treatment strategy.
Are There Nonsurgical Treatments to Help Reduce Symptoms of Chronic Knee Pain?
For some individuals, a knee replacement is the only treatment option to address chronic knee pain and the deterioration of the joint caused by osteoarthritis. However, in a case where symptoms are less severe, your physician might prescribe an anti-inflammatory or over-the-counter pain medication. Sometimes a daily dose of ibuprofen or naproxen can help with pain and reduce swelling.
Injecting cortisone may also provide symptom relief. This is a steroid hormone that is known to reduce inflammation in compromised joints and tissues.
Taking joint health supplements with glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate may also help with joint deterioration. This might also be helpful if you have other joints that have started to show signs of osteoarthritis.
At the same time, making improvements in your diet and getting more exercise might also help reduce the impact the knee joints experience because of excess weight. Diet and exercise also helps increase the strength of the surrounding muscles, which may further stabilize the joint.
Is it Time for a Knee Replacement?
Many individuals are understandably concerned about surgery and joint replacement procedures. Some will put off a knee replacement for years, only to suffer from increasing discomfort and reduced mobility.
If you have been struggling to deal with constant chronic pain, you should speak with an experienced orthopedic physician. It’s important to be open and honest about your pain levels, physical limitations, and any other symptoms you might be experiencing.
Fortunately, modern technology in orthopedics has evolved to the point where knee replacement procedures produce highly successful outcomes. At the Advanced Surgery Center, our physicians and orthopedic specialists have the experience and access to state-of-the-art technology to provide the highest level of knee replacement care.
Choosing Between an Inpatient or Outpatient Total Knee Replacement
In the past, total knee replacements were only performed on an inpatient basis in a hospital. This typically required overnight stays of three or more nights. Fortunately, modern surgical advancements now make it easier than ever to have a total knee replacement performed on an outpatient basis.
Of course, one of the major benefits of choosing an outpatient procedure is the ability to recover in the comforts of your own home. This means a better quality of sleep and enjoying home cooking as opposed to hospital food.
The comforts of home are only one of the major factors that improve outpatient satisfaction levels. There’s no doubt about it; hospital stays are expensive and only continue to rise. In contrast, outpatient knee replacement procedures tend to be far more cost-effective.
One study found that the average price for an inpatient knee replacement in a hospital costs just over $30,000, whereas an outpatient total knee replacement only costs around $19,000.
How Does a Knee Replacement Work?
The first step in the process typically calls for in-depth diagnostics to assess the state of the joint as well as other contributing factors. This allows us to develop a treatment plan that is customized to you.
Most total knee replacement surgeries take between one to three hours. During this time, an orthopedic surgeon carefully removes any damaged cartilage and compromised bone tissue. At that point, they will install the replacement joint, which is also known as a joint implant.
We use state-of-the-art technology to pre-plan the surgical procedure with highly accurate measurements. This ensures that your implant is perfectly fitted. Our process also helps with bone resurfacing to make sure the joint and surrounding healthy bone tissues meet seamlessly.
There are different types of artificial knee joints available through high-quality manufacturers. Most contain metal and plastic components. An artificial knee joint containing titanium will gradually fuse to the surrounding bone tissues through a process known as osseointegration.
Your physician will recommend the type of knee joint that is right for you, based on factors such as lifestyle, age, and activity level.
Is a Total Knee Replacement a Permanent Fix?
Modern materials and technology allow modern knee replacements to last longer than ever before. Statistically, 90% of patients with a modern-day artificial knee joint will maintain good function and comfortable range of motion for more than 15 years after the replacement surgery. Yet even artificial joints can experience wear and tear over time. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to extend its lifespan.
Rehabilitation and Lifestyle Improvements for Long-Term Treatment Success
At Advanced Surgery Center, we provide comprehensive rehabilitation services to help you recover quickly after a total knee replacement. We also include recommendations on lifestyle modifications that can help prolong the joint and improve your overall quality of life. This might involve things like:
- Daily range of motion exercises
- Losing weight
- Dietary changes
- Routine exercise
- Returning for periodic exams and check-ups
Questions or concerns about knee replacement surgery?